Book lovers rejoice! Tis the season to curl up with a good read. If you're in need of some literary inspiration, here's a novel idea: let NPR's Book Concierge guide you through this year's best picks, cover by cover.
If revenge is a dish best served cold, in Washington it can also be served with a heaping side of irony.
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to Sen. Mitch McConnell's request to let Senate Republicans participate in the high-profile case Noel Canning v. National Labor Relations Board.
The question in that case is whether President Obama abused his recess appointment power in naming NLRB members. The president claims the Senate was in recess, which would make his appointments constitutional; Senate Republicans dispute Obama, saying the chamber wasn't in recess.
The court had initially given the lawyers for the administration and Noel Canning 60 minutes to make their case.
But McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, asked for time to present the Senate minority's position. The court granted that, adding 30 minutes for arguments. The administration will now get 45 minutes; Canning and Senate Republicans will split the same amount of time.
And the lawyer poised to make the Senate GOP's argument before the Supreme Court? Miguel Estrada, who argued the case for Senate Republicans in the lower court.
At the start of George W. Bush's administration, it was Democrats who filibustered Bush's nomination of Estrada to the D.C. Circuit. That filibuster contributed to the toxic spiral of filibusters that first caused Senate Republicans, then Democrats, to threaten using the "nuclear option" to weaken senators' ability to filibuster nominations until Democrats actually did it last month.
If the Obama administration and Senate Democrats wind up losing in the Supreme Court, the Estrada and nuclear-option back story could make the win for Republicans especially sweet.
This week's pick for World Cafe: Next is Dott, a young quartet from Galway, Ireland. The music on the band's debut album, Swoon, calls upon the sounds of garage-pop, with chugging, jangly guitars out front and the vocals of Anna McCarthy on top.
Sometimes, the other two women of Dott, Laura Finnegan and Miriam Donahue, will chime in on the harmonies, while Tony Higgins makes his presence known on the drums. Hear two tracks from the glowing and infectious Swoon when you download this week's podcast.
- "Small Pony"
- "Talk To You"
Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott perform together on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of East Tennessee State University. Recognized as two of roots music's most respected singers, songwriters and instrumentalists, O'Brien and Scott took a break from their busy solo careers in 2000 to record their first album as a duo, titled Real Time. The record included many performances that are now considered classics, including "Long Time Gone," which was covered by The Dixie Chicks.
Thirteen years later, the duo returned to the studio to record Memories and Moments. Here, O'Brien plays fiddle and mandolin, while Scott sticks mostly to the guitar. The set includes songs from their previous stint together, along with material from their new album. "Keep Your Dirty Lights On," which is featured in this set, received a 2013 Grammy nomination for Best American Roots Song.
- "Brother Wind"
- "Long Time Gone"
- "Time To Talk To Joseph"
- "Memories And Moments"
- "It All Comes Down To Love"
- "Keep Your Dirty Lights On"
- "House Of Gold"
- "Small Pony"
- "Talk To You"